Known gang member in custody; accused of stealing AK-47 during gun sale in Midvale parking lot, police say

Unified Police officers collect evidence during the arrest of an alleged gang member accused of stealing an AK-47 during a gun buy from a private citizen Sunday in Midvale Sept. 12, 2021. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Steve Milner

MIDVALE, Utah, Sept. 13, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A man police describe as a known gang member was booked into jail Sunday on multiple felony charges after police say he agreed to purchase an AK-47 from a seller, but stole it after paying a fraction of the cost, then sped away after hitting the seller with his vehicle.

Suspect Jayden Fernelius, 19, now faces charges of:

  • Theft of a firearm, a second-degree felony
  • Possession of  a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, a second-degree felony
  • Aggravated assault, a third-degree felony

Sgt. Melody Cutler, Unified Police Department, said Fernelius agreed to meet the seller Sunday in the parking lot of Sportsman’s Warehouse, 165 W. 7200 South.

“The man showed up to buy the gun, grabbed it from the seller, and attempted to hit the victim with his car,” Cutler said. “Officers saturated the area and were able to find a vehicle matching the description, and the male was initially compliant, then got in is car and came back out with a gun.”

Fernelius’ probable cause statement said he showed up outside the Sportsman’s Warehouse after agreeing to buy the gun for $1,100.

The victim told police “Jayden arrived and handed him a large stack of money and took the AK047 from him. (The victim) said Jayden put the gun in the back of his car and quickly jumped into the car to drive away.”

The victim immediately noticed the money was mostly $1 bills, and he “called out to Jayden and tried asking him about the money but Jayden through the car into reverse,” hitting the victim’s legs, the probable cause statement says.

The seller then walked to Fernelius’ car window, “and told Jayden there wasn’t enough money there, and Jayden was reaching underneath the seat for something,” which the victim believed might be a gun.

The victim stepped back and drew his own weapon, believing he might be hit again, and fired two rounds at the back of Fernelius’ car, he told officers. Fernelius continued to drive away, taking the AK-47, the man said.

The cash Fernelius gave the seller totaled $361, the probable cause statement says.

“Officers in the area located the vehicle and began following it while they waited for further information and for other officers to come into the area,” the police statement says. “Officer Smith followed the vehicle where it turned into a dead end, and Smith turned on his overhead lights and his sirens.”

Unified Police officers collect evidence during the arrest of an alleged gang member accused of stealing an AK-47 during a gun buy from a private citizen Sunday in Midvale Sept. 12, 2021. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Steve Milner

Fernelius exited the car and confronted the officer, the statement says. The suspect then returned to his car. The officer ordered the suspect to stop, but Fernelius reached into the vehicle and grabbed a handgun, the statement says.

“Officer Smith began giving commands to Jayden, who immediately tossed the gun back into the vehicle,” the statement says. Fernelius was taken into custody.

“Jayden also told Officer Smith the reason he was not initially being compliant was because he thought he was an opposing gang member, Surenos, and that they were coming after him,” the police statement says.

Post Miranda, Fernelius, who has never had a driver license, “provided several different versions of the events that took place at Sportsman’s Warehouse. Jayden initially stated he gave (the seller) $800 and (the seller) agreed to let him go to the bank with the gun and come back with the remaining owed amount.

“Jayden later stated he knew he only had the limited amount of money, $361, and had gone to meet (the seller) knowing he did not have enough money to buy the AK47.”

He told officers he was going to the bank for the remaining cash, “but his bank wouldn’t let him pull out that much cash.” The suspect denied hitting the seller with his car, but did say the seller shot at his vehicle. Fernelius also told officers he had returned to the parking lot, but the seller’s vehicle had left.

“It was explained to Jayden that his account of the events didn’t make sense, but Jayden continued to try to make up different versions of the story,” his probable cause statement says.

The officer who filed the probable cause statement said Fernelius is a documented Norteno gang member charged with multiple felonies, and should be held without bail.

The judge agreed.

Unified Police officers collect evidence during the arrest of an alleged gang member accused of stealing an AK-47 during a gun buy from a private citizen Sunday in Midvale Sept. 12, 2021. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Steve Milner

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here